Suave, charming and volatile, Reggie Kray (Tom Hardy) and his unstable twin brother Ronnie Kray (also Tom Hardy) start to leave their mark on the London underworld in the 1960s. Using violence to get what they want, the siblings orchestrate robberies and murders while running nightclubs and protection rackets. With police Detective Leonard “Nipper” Read (Christopher Eccleston) hot on their heels, the brothers continue their rapid rise to power and achieve tabloid notoriety.
So I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time so I was excited when it finally came to Ottawa (where I am from). So I’ve liked Tom Hardy’s last films but I haven’t been a massive fan either. I still thought he was a great actor so I was curious to see what he would do here. The plot in this one is simple enough where the film follows twin brother gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray (Hardy) as they establish themselves within 1960s London. During that time Reggie befriends the beautiful Frances Shea (Emily Browning) who becomes infatuated with Reggie and wishes he would stop being a gangster and run away with her. Reggie must decide the path that he has known all of his life and the woman which he loves. Ronnie, recently released from a mental institution, must figure out how to adjust to normal life while his brother Reggie must take care of him. Ronnie still has mental problems and was released prematurely with the assistance of his brother. So this is supposed to be a gangster film (at least that was the impression I got) in the vein of the earlier film Black Mass but, similar to Black Mass, I did not get too see too many “gangster-type” things. I was a little disappointed because of this as we got to see everything from the outside as if their “gangsterness” was implied. Because of this, the film follows both Kray brothers as they live each of their lives and begin to build their empire but seems to pan away as soon as anything good happens. Also because of this, I found the film to be boring at times. Even though this film follows along a similar path to Black Mass (which I did not find as boring), Black Mass was better because it was lead by an amazing cast with amazing performances (especially by Johnny Depp). This one does not come remotely close to that as I found Hardy’s performance as both Krays to be okay in the case of Reggie Kray and mediocre in the case of Ronnie Cray. Reggie was more of a cliche type of gangster and Ronnie was just an obnoxious blowhard. I just found him annoying most of the time. Eccleston was okay as Detective Read but we don’t get to see any of him since the investigation sub-plot was rather minimal. Browning was okay but she was nothing more than a cliche. The supporting cast was also okay but they just had too little to do other than be in scenes with the Krays (it seemed like). At least the special effects involved in having Hardy play both Krays was well done. Albeit the way that both of their faces were rarely in the frame helped but it was easy to see the effects when their faces were both in the frame as only one seemed to talk at a time. Overall, this is still a watchable film but it was disappointing because it wasn’t what I thought it would be.